Obama hails South Korea trade deal as win for both

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama hailed a just-completed trade deal with South Korea Thursday as he welcomed the country’s president to the White House, offering warm praise for a solid ally in a world in flux.

At a joint White House news conference with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Obama said that the long-delayed trade pact approved late Wednesday by Congress is “a win for both our countries,” and that he and Lee had agreed to move forward with it quickly.

Obama said the deal would increase U.S. exports by $11 billion and support 70,000 jobs, while opening Korea’s market to U.S. goods. And Obama said, “I’m very pleased it will help level the playing field for American automakers.”

Obama is scheduled to take Lee with him to Detroit on Friday.

Obama also had strong words for communist-governed North Korea, saying that further provocations would be met by “even stronger sanctions and isolation.”